To be a poet one needs the six P’s – the pencil, the paper, the perception, the passion, the persistence and the unshakable persuasion that the poem is in fact possible and attainable. - Grace Perry

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Books I have read - Geography by Sophie Cunningham



Geography is an erotic novel, which follows the journey of Australian resident Catherine. Catherine finds airplanes erotically stimulating. For her airplanes facilitate physical contact with the older academic Michael, whom she has obsessed over for years, who lives in the US. Michael and Catherine have had a long term raunchy affair that is predominantly conducted through fax and email. Airplanes and travel have also brought Catherine to the younger, attractive, lesbian Ruby.

“ … Beauvoir wrote about this … after she started sleeping with Sartre she became so obsessed that even getting on the tram became an erotic experience for her. I know how she felt, like everything around you is penetrating you … Everything turns into sex” (Cunningham 36).

 I have to disagree with Gillian Dooley's assertion that "the sequence of events can be difficult to follow, and there is no beauty or transcendence to counteract the irritation the reader feels at having to re-read pages in an attempt to work out where and when this is all happening. It’s an ambitious book, Cunningham has failed to create a narrative that is either effective or engaging." Geography does jump between the past relationship with Michael and the blossoming relationship with Ruby, as well as Catherine's memories of her childhood, but I did not find this difficult to follow and in fact found that this helped to further pull myself, as a reader, into the story. I enjoyed vicariously exploring sexuality through Catherine's relationships and admired Cunningham's ability to allow Catherine to develop as a character, to better understand herself as a character, through her sexual relationships.

Thank you Sophie Cunningham for allowing me to travel with Catherine to the US and South East Asia these Summer holidays.

For a more comprehensive review of this book check out Julie Proudfoot's comments here.

To read an extract of the book visit Cunningham's website here.

Cunningham's novel can be purchased from amazon.